Catalina Connection

Marilyn Monroe Exhibit Opens at Catalina Museum

Byline: Nu Yang

Marilyn Monroe Exhibit Opens at Catalina Museum

AVALON — Starting Aug. 6, the Catalina Island Museum will present “Before She was Marilyn: Marilyn Monroe on Catalina Island,” the first major exhibition documenting the year Marilyn Monroe lived on the island. An opening reception is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Aug. 6. Tickets are free to museum members and $5 for the general public.

After 16-year-old Norma Jean Baker (Monroe’s real name) married merchant marine James Doughtery, she traveled with him when he was stationed on Catalina Island during 1943. Through diary entries, letters and photographs that document Marilyn Monroe’s life on the island, the exhibition reveals a playful, even girlish Norma Jean Doughtery.

Far from being the sophisticated “blonde bombshell” of her 1950s movies, she, by her own admission, did not feel married and enjoyed playing with neighborhood children until called home late in the evening by her husband. Possessing a radiant smile that would serve her well in the future, she could be seen on the island’s beaches, rowing with girlfriends and posing for pictures before the island’s most famous landmark, the Catalina Casino.

Only months after leaving Catalina Island, she was discovered by a photographer who helped launched her film career.

The exhibition will run through Oct. 31. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit or call (310) 510-2414.

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